Demand Increases For Financial Data on Teleservices
The 154-page study, "Trends, Issues & Opportunities Driving the Teleservices Market," was received enthusiastically when it was issued last year by DGY Associates, Irving, TX, a consulting and research company. A year later, companies are still eager to read the study's findings on current perceptions and needs of businesses regarding the use of teleservices, particularly the question of whether or not companies are outsourcing and why.
"I couldn't find any hard data out there on what the financial impact of outsourcing was," said Dorothy Young, founder of the six-year-old DGY, in explaining why she launched the survey. Her company's studies focus on undervalued industries that are experiencing explosive growth, such as retail, banking, nondurable goods and temporary employment services.
For the teleservices study, 228 questionnaires were conducted by telephone and mail beginning last quarter of 1996 and ending first quarter of 1997. The survey asked Fortune 1000 companies about their use of teleservices, perceptions of outsourcing call-center functions, experiences with teleservice providers and future plans, if any, for contracting with an external center.
The participants, representing 44 industries, were randomly selected. Of the 22.8 percent of respondents, 40.8 percent were Fortune 500 companies.
The key finding was that companies who outsource call-center functions, either partially or fully, outperform those that do not.
"Clearly businesses with internal call centers performed better than companies without centers but still lagged behind those who outsourced," said Young. "Partial outsourcers felt the impact by claiming a higher average percentage return to investors on an annual basis than those who did not. Companies who fully outsource had the most favorable results, with a greater 10-year average return to investors, a higher average 10-year annual growth rate and a larger average percentage change in annual earnings per share. Half of those not outsourcing call-center functions experienced a drop in ranking, while the other 50 percent showed no increase.
"We are not commissioned by any company so we don't care how the results turn out, whether they will be good or bad," said Young. "The results will not be skewed."
"Business often don't have a clear view of their clients and the level of service they are providing," said Young. She cited as an example a bank that commissioned a report "proving" the bank had the highest level of customer satisfaction with its customers, when, in fact, after DGY's independent analysis, customer perception of service was abysmal; it was rated second to worst in the area.
"Companies are often in their own little world," said Young. "Our independent surveys help to bridge that gap between businesses and consumers or business and providers of services so they can improve performance and increase customer satisfaction."
In the teleservices survey, 11 percent of companies not currently outsourcing had done so in the past, with the majority of these being Fortune 500 companies. One respondent explained, "We've not been impressed by anyone."
Almost 8 percent of companies reported that they received less service than expected. The majority of these companies employ between 5,001 and 15,000 people, which represents the largest group looking to outsource. The majority of respondents claimed to receive the service they expected; nearly one-fourth said they received more service than expected.
Some companies believe they don't need to outsource in their particular industry, while others in the same industry were using outsourcing effectively.